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Rep. Lavielle on the Bipartisan Passage of a State Budget

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“On Friday afternoon in the Senate and before dawn on Saturday morning in the House, members of both parties in the Connecticut General Assembly joined together to pass a state budget introduced by legislative Republicans. It passed 21 – 15 in the Senate, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting in favor, and 77 – 73, with all Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor.

This budget closes the state’s $3.5 billion deficit without raising taxes, does not transfer the cost of teachers’ pensions from the state to towns, preserves funding for school districts and municipalities, invests in transportation, and protects critical services like those for the intellectually disabled and the elderly. It also contains many structural changes, including consolidating government departments, reducing state employee overtime, restricting state borrowing, and implementing the constitutional spending cap.

The now bipartisan budget offered a sharp contrast to the Democratic proposal, which increased spending by $1 billion, raised taxes by about $1.3 billion — including new taxes on consumer cell phone bills and non-prescription drugs and a new statewide property tax on second homes — shifted teachers’ pension costs to towns, and gave a non-elected body the power to authorize and set pricing for tolls.

I have long believed strongly that our state government cannot continue to increase taxes and spending and still expect to stop Connecticut’s persistent deficit cycle, foster a thriving economy, and provide both advancement and retirement opportunities, as well as needed services, for its residents. The passage of this budget was a clear signal that a majority of legislators representing both sides of the aisle are ready to change the direction of our state by supporting fiscally responsible policies that will require Connecticut to live within its means.

Governor Malloy has stated his intention to veto the bipartisan budget, even though a majority of legislators support it. If he does this, the massive cuts to school districts and essential services that are scheduled early next month under his Executive Order will take effect. He has also said that he doesn’t want to see this happen, so I hope that he will act responsibly and allow the budget to go through.

Participating in the work on this budget and watching it pass with bipartisan support was a remarkable experience. I want to acknowledge and thank our Democratic colleagues who put politics aside to do what they thought was right for Connecticut. Despite the threat of a veto, their actions augur well for policy changes that will restore our state’s economy and fiscal health. Whatever happens next, I look forward to continuing to work together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that Connecticut has a responsible state budget, and to set it on a path to a sustainable and prosperous future.

If you would like to urge Governor Malloy not to veto the budget, you can call his office at 800 406 1527, or click here to send an email.

To read more about the budget, click here.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss the state budget, or any other issue, further. I always appreciate hearing from you.”